As Australia and New Zealand pull out of the Rugby League World Cup, Cllr Ali Avaei, Opposition Spokesperson for Culture, Heritage and Sport, said: "This is a bitter blow for the competition and the fans. Australia and New Zealand have to weigh up the risks of participating when case rates in the UK are so high, and the RLWC organisers should surely now think about whether to go ahead. Weighing up the public health challenges against the benefits of hosting a prestigious competition will be a challenging, but necessary, task.
"At a local level, we have to ask why Newcastle's Labour administration insisted there was 'no Plan B' for the fixtures planned to take place in the City. The Opposition felt it prudent to have contingency plans in place, in case the pandemic disrupted the event, but Cabinet members insisted this was a waste of time. With these developments, will they acknowledge they were wrong?"
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